Pictured, from left: Gabriel Southern, Jirell McClure, Krystchian Moore.
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Coosa Christian head football coach Mark O’Bryant has a simple answer when asked what his program’s core value is.
“Accountability. Literally every second that I’m breathing, I’m trying to hold them accountable, whether it’s through the grades or mandatory tutoring or through nutrition. We hold our kids extremely accountable for everything they do, and the results are speaking volumes.”
Entering his second year with the program, O’Bryant acknowledged that the 2021 Conqueror is far from a veteran one.
“We’re very, very, very young. We have three seniors, and I would say the bulk of our athletes are all ninth graders.”
One of the main gears of the Coosa offensive engine will be quarterback Thomas Skaggs, who as a sophomore last season finished with 2,237 combined passing and rushing yards along with 23 touchdowns.
O’Bryant points to the offensive line as the team’s strongest unit as a whole.
“A lot of our experience is up front, and we’re going to average 250, 260 [pounds]. With three seniors, we’ll be pretty good in that area.”
One of those seniors, Matthew Wright, had five sacks at defensive tackle last season, when Conquerors went 3-7 with victories over Gaston, Asbury and Whitesburg Christian.
For the first time in recent memory, Coosa’s skill players will not see double duty on either side of the ball.
“We won’t have anyone going both ways,” said O’Bryant. “We’ve got that built into the equation. So our next challenge is to be that way up front, and that’s where we’re trending.”
The Conquerors’ Class 1A, Region 6 competition is Woodville, Gaylesville, Appalachian, Asbury, Valley Head, Sumiton Christian, Cedar Bluff and Whitesburg Christian of Huntsville.
“I’m not much of an outlook guy, so I never make any predictions or any of that such,” said O’Bryant. “We just want to play hard and be competitive, to fight through the end of the game and see where the chips fall.”
O’Bryant praised the school administration for its support of the football program.
“This is the best administration I’ve ever worked for. This one has been incredible. They’re letting us do things the way we need to do it to be successful and they’re staying out of my way.
“The principal I’m working with is the best principal in the state of Alabama, hands down. It’s kind of a dream I’ve had for 20 years.”
Staff writer Emma Kirkemier contributed to this article.